part time business for programmers [closed]
I would like to start a small part time business other than my full time programming job. Have you guys done that before? I know programmers who teach in evening schools after work. But then again, that is not business. What would you recommend to get another income stream going?
I have a full time programming day job, and I just started a small software enterprise this year.
My advice would be to start small, and make sure you have the time & energy to work on something after your day job is done. If possible, choose a business in which the code you write will be different from the code you write at work. A different language is a good start, but different types of problems would be a much better goal. If you end up working on the same thing 12 hours a day (8 at work, and 4 on the side-job), you will go absolutely crazy in less than two weeks.
As for what type of business to start, take a few things into consideration:
What kind of project would you enjoy working on?
What skills do you have, or can you learn in order to get this done?
How much time do you have available?
How much money is your time worth?
Once you have this figured out, you will know which projects make sense for you.
The only other piece of advice I can think of is to specialize. If you are a one-man operation, you can't compete with Microsoft. Choose a market in which you offer something really good to a small group of people. These little niche markets are the best place for small software companies to thrive.
Good luck and have fun!
I'm assuming you mean consulting when you say 'small business'. Network with people you know in real life. Communication skills are king. Find out exactly what your client needs and deliver promptly. Never promise something you can't deliver, it'll reflect poorly on you. Outline all of the requirements of the project and start drawing mocks/specs on a sheet of paper with your client. Outline their budget and see if their requirements are feasible for their budget. If you're developing software for a mid-sized business, talk to the staff who'll be using your product as an end user. If they currently have a solution, ask them what they don't like about it in terms of features and usability. See how it can be improved.
Be as genuinely helpful and knowledgeable as you can. If the project is out of your scope, lead them to someone who can help. You might not land that gig, but they'll probably tell three or four of their friends about you who might come back a year or two from now.
One relatively untapped market I've found is locating people who've recently outsourced. Not to make any generalizations but the "outsourcing boom" produced a bunch of sub-par software, leaving tons of code needing to be salvaged. I've found a bit of business by finding people with half-finished software and re-writing their code into something workable.
I would recommend having some sort of business plan. Don't just start writing some application or creating some web site and think it will sell. Do some research on the actual market for your product.
Also, having done it before, I would suggest having at least 1 other partner in the business. Doing it all yourself quickly becomes a waste of effort. You can do it, but it sure is a heck of a lot easier if you have someone to help with ideas, programming, accounting, web design, etc.
Also, think hard about whether you really want another job outside of your current job. I don't know what your life is like outside of your day job, but having another job (particularly one that requires daily attention like a website that has to be constantly updated) can be a real drain on your life.
If you do come up with a business plan and start a business, make it something you thoroughly enjoy! It can be very rewarding if you do.
I don't know why you reject teaching "out of hand". After working in industry for 10 years, I started teaching "Adult Education" night courses at a community college. I found it an excellent revenue stream that did not conflict with my day job (IT consulting). It was also and excellent way to remain "fresh" in my chosen languages (originally C).
Teaching keeps you on your toes, and lets you meet lots of interesting people (teachers and students) in a very fun atmosphere.
Also, when you are ready to seek another career down the road, teaching is an excellent choice. Teaching is also remarkably insulated from economic turmoil, as downturns often send people into training as a way forward.
Plus - you are giving something back.
I did some work on an opensource project (DotNetNuke) as a developer and made some good contacts through that and became a consultant doing DNN work for various clients.
You obvisouly have to make the investment to learn whatever the OSS project is that you're working on, but on the other hand, there's a good chance you could carve out a pretty nice niche for yourself.
part time business for programmers [closed]